Growing Players – A Long Term Project

The main goal of the Soccer Field Academy is to enhance player’s potential, and one of the key aspects of that is building a long term relationship between player and coach. It is a long standing and often proved saying that players play better when they have a positive relationship with their coach, and this is true of all levels, not only the professional game.

At the SFA we believe that when you establish a real connection with a young player it produces a better training environment, better play, and more growth. By beginning this process while young players start building that rapport in vital development years, enabling coaching to set good habits early rather than have to correct poor ones later on. The special bond and trust built over the years of time spent together can lead to players being willing to go out of their comfort zone when pushed, which often leads to more dramatic growth and better on-field performance.

This is not a strictly theoretical belief, rather it is one that has produced proven results over the years. James Field, founder and head trainer of the SFA, has seen it first hand, as three players he has had a long term hand in training recently were a part of the US Youth National Team camp. Anthony Hernandez, Nico Briones, and Elton Chifamba have all trained and played under James in various settings starting from the time they were seven to nine years old up to age thirteen, when they were promoted to the US Development Academy.

​This is not the only way to develop players, but at the SFA we believe it is the best way. We are always accepting new enrollments in to the Academy, so your player can start reaping the benefits of long term, player focused training and growth.

NEWS: Three SFA Alumni Head to US Youth International Camp

This past November three Soccer Field Academy Alumni, Nico Briones, Anthony Hernandez, and Elton Chifamba were selected to take part in the prestigious U.S. Soccer Federation Academy training camp in Carson, California. All three represented the u14 (born 2003) age group, and had trained with head coach/SFA owner James Field in various roles since an early age.

Nico began training with James at the u7 level, with Anthony and Elton joining two years later at the u9 level. Working with them day in and day out for years James helped guide their development, taking a “building blocks” approach to expanding their skills and thought processes. Training upwards five times a week, the rapport not only influenced their on the field demeanor, but also their habits and work ethic off the pitch as well.

“James’ fingerprints are all over their development.” Said Jay Briones, Nico’s father. “The focus from a very young age was on developing the mental side of the game as well as physical, working on their soccer IQ. That’s served them so well, even with the Youth National Camp.”

The three spent November 13-20 in Carson, California, as part of the 48 player camp, working under coach Clint Peay. They received training and instruction, and took part in intra-squad scrimmages as well as games against outside opponents.

Briones, Chifamba, and Hernandez are the three latest SFA Alumni to take part in National Team camps, and coach Field was incredibly proud of his students.

“Seeing the hard work they’ve put in, day in and day out, over the years pay off, it just makes me so excited for them. It’s not just their skills, but their work ethic that has taken them this far. I’m very proud of them, and very very excited to see their development continue in the future.”

The years spent training under James have left a long lasting impression with young Nico, according to his father Jay:

“Nico wouldn’t be at the level he is at without James, the attitude and culture he instilled in the boys. It was never all about winning, but about developing the players.” He said. “James will always be Nico’s mentor.”

James, for his part, is see his tutelage leading to success for his students.

“It’s gratifying to see that all the time I spent with them has helped instill those values that we hold at the SFA. I’m very proud that they’re out there, representing what we do so well.”

​For more information on SFA programs, including enrollment questions contact [email protected], and stay tuned to for updates.

Enhancing Your Potential

At the Soccer Field Academy we like to say that we help enhance player’s potential. What does that mean? It means at the SFA players will receive in depth, game focused training designed to improve key aspects of their game, and help them make the jump to their next level.

One key focus of this training is it’s “in game” nature. Players enrolled at the SFA are not simply being taught ball skills or doing fitness work, but are instead engaged in game-like scenarios specifically designed to improve performance on the field in real-life situations.

“You can take a player, give them a ball and tell them to kick it against the wall a hundred times.” said James Field, owner and director of the SFA. “But that doesn’t do them any good in a real game. Kids need to train in real game situations, to develop those skills, when to pass, when to move.”

The training is not just physical, but mental as well. Students in the SFA spend as much time working on the mental side of their game, tactics and decision making, as they do on the physical side, the mechanics of proper soccer.

The focus of the training sessions is the same for all students, but within groups there is also student-specific, one on one instruction, focusing on each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

“We aren’t a club, our mission isn’t to win trophies or tournaments. What we’re about is developing players, helping each student who enrolls reach their goal, whatever that is.” Says Field. “We want to help our kids make the jump to their next level.”

This player-first, developmentally focused philosophy is at the heart of what the Soccer Field Academy is about, and it’s students stand to benefit most.